Cyprus has the lowest suicide rate in the whole of the EU, Eurostat reported on Thursday, but like the rest of the union the vast majority of those taking their own lives are men.
The number of suicides for 2017, the latest figures available, was four in 100,000 inhabitants in Cyprus, five for both Malta and Greece and six in Italy.
Lithuania registered the highest rate at 26 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Slovenia with 20 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
Cyprus is also way below the EU average of almost 11 suicides per 100,000 persons.
Almost eight in 10 of all suicides in the EU, 77 per cent, concerned men. In Cyprus, of the 35 people who killed themselves in 2017, 29 were men and six women.
Commenting on the high proportion of men, a Paphos-based counsellor and psychotherapist said it largely is connected to the teachings engrained into the male psyche.
According to Brendan McGrath latest studies and research indicate that men take their own lives because they lack the ability to talk about their problems.
“It is related to issues of pride and being perceived as weak,” he said.
From a young age boys and girls are given different messages about life, with boys being told things, including ‘boys don’t cry’, while girls are encouraged to talk about their problems, he added.
This tendency is even more pronounced in Cyprus.
“It has not seeped into the male psyche here, and they are left behind.”
He added that in the UK, where he has worked, things have been changing in recent years, and men’s groups and movements have cropped up, encouraging them to talk.
Around 48,700 people in the European Union died as a result of intentional self-harm in 2016.